The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

My Love That Mourneth For Me

Words and Music: John Gwynneth, circa Henry VIII

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 140-142

1. And I mankind
Have not in mind,
    My love that mourneth for me, for me.
Who is my love
But God above
    That born was of Mary?

2. And on the Rood
His precious blood
    He shed to make me free.
Whom should I prove
So true of love
    So gentle and courteous as He?

3. That King of bliss
My love He is
    That mourneth so sore as He?
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4. The Father His Son
From heaven sent down
    That born was of a maid;
The prophecy
Of Isay
    Fulfilled He and said:

5. "Behold, mankind,
Thy Maker most loving
    For thy love come to die.
What is thy mind
To be so unkind
    Sith I so mourn for thee, for thee?"

6. That virgin's Child,
Most meek and mild,
    Alonely for my sake,
His Father's will
For to fulfill
    He came gret pains to take.

7. And suffered death
As Scripture saith,
    That we should saved be,
On Good Friday,
Wherefore I say
    He mourned sore for me, for me.

8. Such pain and smart
As in His heart
    He suffered for mankind,
Can no man take
Nor mourning make
    So meekly for his friend.

9. The cruel Jews
Would not refuse
    To nail Him to a tree,
And with a dart
To pierce His heart
    Thus mourned He for me.

10. Now Christ Jesu,
Of love most true,
    Have mercy upon me;
I ask the grace
For my trespass
    That I have done to Thee.

11. For Thy sweet name,
Save me from shame
    And all adversity.
For Mary's sake,
To Thee me take
    And mourn no more for me.

Note from Rickert:

This is an Easter carol obviously adapted from some earlier love-song. John Gwynneth was one of the Gentlemen of the Chapel to Henry VIII.

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